Tuesday, July 31, 2007


If there's any doubt of the cleverness of our government, they've just been dispelled.

NZ has struggled for some months with an (allegedly) overvalued dollar and no effective tools to reduce the parity. Now they've found one:

Winston Peters has been sent around the world to spout his views on economics. Once the markets realise that not only does our present government contain an unreconstructed Muldoonist, but that any future Key administration will as well, we will see a dollar back in the 60c range faster than you can say "voodoo economics"!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hey hey it (was) Saturday

I don't normally do political meetings, but I thought that George Galloway would be worth hearing. He didn't disappoint - I don't think any NZ politicians can match his oratory - he even does samples: "I told Tony Blair that the invasion of Iraq would not be the end, it would not be the beginning of the end, it would be the end of the beginning". (Original - Winston Churchill, 1942).

It was a very good turnout - the 800 seat hall was filled to capacity. That's a lot of people for a political meeting on a wet Saturday night in Auckland.

After that, and after lashing together a green glowy roadworkers top, I went to see Tom Cosm at Space. Cosm is amazing - he's known as a psy-trance DJ, but as Helix correctly pointed out last week, he's a whole lot more than that - he mashes together psy and breaks in a one-off live performance. (Using Ableton, a laptop and a couple of controllers). If you get a chance to see him touring with Pitch Black, go and do it...

Friday, July 27, 2007

36 days till the man burns!

It gets closer to Burning Man!

I got my EL wire delivery today.

The Moa-bike is getting close to complete. The Laser Eyes work. The LED illuminator works, the head is about there. I've done the frame for the tail and just have to cut and sew (!) the fur.

I've also got the shade structure roughed out, going to get the Alishade material this arvo and set the thing up. It fits in a ski bag, too.

DJ Station are making me a fur coat and I have a range of cool trousers.

So I think I'm getting there, mostly...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Save the Kiwi

Like everyone in NZ, I've got the option of joining Kiwisaver this year. I guess it's a sign of age that I'm actually interested in it.

I've just had a look at the terms - which, on most of the information sites, have been subject to a degree of inaccurate precis.

They basically amount to:
- An initial $1,000 kickstart
- A tax credit of $1,043 or the amount you contributed in a year, whichever is lower
- An employer contribution of 1% in 2008/09 rising to 4% in 2011/12

In return for this, you lock your money up until age 65.

What isn't in the scheme (and *is* in a UK personal pension, for instance):
- tax relief on contributions (apart from the capped tax credit). Your contributions come out of *taxed* pay
- tax relief on fund growth. The fund providers are taxed at 30% (you don't see this tax bill - it just reduces your fund growth)

Of course, the Brits pay quite a lot more tax than we do and they can only take 25% of their fund out as a lump sum.

I've made this calculator to see what the tangible benefits of the scheme are. It compares, based on age and salary, the effect of putting 4%/8% of salary into Kiwisaver against putting the money into a fund directly (and thus having it immediately accessible). Note that due to GoogleDoc limitations, to change values you'll have to export it into Excel or your own document if you want to change any values.

For the first 4% of salary, you always win. The size of the win tapers off as you earn more (and the younger you are) but you always get a reasonable (8% rather than 4%) benefit from locking your money up in Kiwisaver.

For the next 4% (i.e. making an 8% contribution) you *never* win in cash terms, unless you earn less than $27k. Locking up an extra 4% of income gives those earning more than this zero benefit.

(Of course, you might regard having the money locked away and unavailable to spend as a benefit - then again, if you wind up short of cash and needing to borrow at any stage, it's a big negative).

So I'm going to do 4%, but I can see no reason at all to go beyond this.